Validity and Reliability of Surface Electromyography Measurements from a Wearable Athlete Performance System

J Sports Sci Med. 2018 May 14;17(2):205-215. eCollection 2018 Jun.


The Athos ® wearable system integrates surface electromyography (sEMG ) electrodes into the construction of compression athletic apparel. The Athos system reduces the complexity and increases the portability of collecting EMG data and provides processed data to the end user. The objective of the study was to determine the reliability and validity of Athos as compared with a research grade sEMG system. Twelve healthy subjects performed 7 trials on separate days (1 baseline trial and 6 repeated trials). In each trial subjects wore the wearable sEMG system and had a research grade sEMG system's electrodes placed just distal on the same muscle, as close as possible to the wearable system's electrodes. The muscles tested were the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), and biceps femoris (BF). All testing was done on an isokinetic dynamometer. Baseline testing involved performing isometric 1 repetition maximum tests for the knee extensors and flexors and three repetitions of concentric-concentric knee flexion and extension at MVC for each testing speed: 60, 180, and 300 deg/sec. Repeated trials 2-7 each comprised 9 sets where each set included three repetitions of concentric-concentric knee flexion-extension. Each repeated trial (2-7) comprised one set at each speed and percent MVC (50%, 75%, 100%) combination. The wearable system and research grade sEMG data were processed using the same methods and aligned in time. The amplitude metrics calculated from the sEMG for each repetition were the peak amplitude, sum of the linear envelope, and 95th percentile. Validity results comprise two main findings. First, there is not a significant effect of system (Athos or research grade system) on the repetition amplitude metrics (95%, peak, or sum). Second, the relationship between torque and sEMG is not significantly different between Athos and the research grade system. For reliability testing, the variation across trials and averaged across speeds was 0.8%, 7.3%, and 0.2% higher for Athos from BF, VL and VM, respectively. Also, using the standard deviation of the MVC normalized repetition amplitude, the research grade system showed 10.7% variability while Athos showed 12%. The wearable technology (Athos) provides sEMG measures that are consistent with controlled, research grade technologies and data collection procedures.

Keywords: Athos; EMG; Wearable technology; electromyography.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes
  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Torque
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*
  • Young Adult